Sunday, April 26, 2020

Canada's STRONGER TOGETHER Concert

Famous Canadian performers will take to the airwaves and the internet tonite at 7pm in support of food banks across Canada during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Sunday, April 26th star-studded special called STRONGER TOGETHER will be one hour long, commercial free broadcast on CBC, Citytv, CTV, Global as well as other specialty networks and radio stations. You can also find it on various streaming platforms as the show salutes frontline workers

Stars like Céline Dion, Michael Bublé, Bryan Adams, Shania Twain, Sarah McLachlan, Howie Mandel, Jann Arden, Rick Mercer, Alessia Cara, Russell Peters, Connor McDavid will perform from their homes during the concert.

"Bell Media, CBC/Radio-Canada, Corus Entertainment, Groupe V Média, and Rogers Sports & Media are coming together in a show of support for the frontline workers fighting the battle against COVID-19 across Canada." Viewers are asked to make a donation to Food Banks Canada (How to Donate: SMS: Text COVID to 30333 to donate $5, $10, or $20. Online: FoodBanksCanada.ca/StrongerTogether )

You can view the special on these channels and platforms: Bell Media TV: CTV, CTV2, CTV Life Channel, TSN, CP24, MUCH, MTV, VRAK Streaming: CTV.ca and CTV app; iHeartRadio.ca and iHeartRadio Canada app Radio: Virgin Radio On Demand: Crave; CTV.ca and CTV app; iHeartRadio.ca and iHeartRadio Canada app CBC/Radio-Canada TV: CBC TV, ICI ARTV Streaming: CBC Gem, CBC.ca Radio: CBC Radio One, CBC Music, CBC Listen app, Sirius XM Channel 169 On Demand: CBC Gem, ICI TOU.TV Corus TV: Global, Slice, National Geographic, ABC Spark, and SériesPlus Streaming: Global TV app, globaltv.com, globalnews.ca, and etcanada.com On Demand: Global TV app and globaltv.com Rogers Sports & Media TV: Citytv, FX, OMNI Television Streaming: Citytv.com Groupe V Média TV.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Toronto Earth Day 2020

The 50th anniversary of Earth Day comes today - April 22nd - Yay, so happy Earth Day. Today brings a call for climate action. This year the Covid-19 pandemic will cancel, or force online, events to help the earth. There are a lot of Climate Strikes that won't be able to take place.

From Earth Day's website; "Climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable."

THE EARTH NEEDS US NOW MORE THAN EVER —
ON APRIL 22, EARTH DAY GOES DIGITAL

NASA images show Nitrogen-Dioxide levels dropped in China early in 2020. CNN reports that the NO2 have been dropping in the US as well.

The world is getting a break during the pandemic as pollution levels have fallen as human practices have been severely curtailed pollution across the globe. Stay and work at home, quarantines and economic shutdowns have reduced everything it seems. I have even heard that the canals of Venice have cleared and you can see fish and dolphins in the water now, but the dolphins story is apparently fake according to National Geographic.

You can check out Toronto's virtual Earth Day 2020 event from noon to 1pm from Canadian Club of Toronto. "To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, join Canadian Club Toronto on April 22nd to discuss what a greener Toronto, and Canada, looks like, how we can continue to build on current progress, and develop actionable change for the future. This expert panel will be moderated by Dr. Dan Riskin, former host of the Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet"

Friday, April 17, 2020

Toronto Cherry Blossoms 2020

Update May 2, 2020: The cherry blossoms are in bloom.
Blossoms in Exhibition Place around the Liberty Grand May 2, 2020. You can see more of the blossoms on my post here.

Since High Park and Trinity Bellwoods Park are fenced off you have to take the virtual blossom tour on the City's BloomCam.

Now back to my original post.

Covid-19 can't cancel the beautiful blossoms that come with springtime, unfortunately the emergency pandemic precautions may keep us out of the parks - the most famous in Toronto being High Park. Even the Sakura in High Park website stopped updates on March 25 to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. There are a lot of places besides parks that you can find the occasional clump of fruit trees and you can always look towards those blossoms. Here are some blossoms from happier times as well as some recent spring flowers. You can find cherry trees all around Toronto and beautiful blossoms if the time is right - here are some places that you can find cherry trees on my post here.
High Park COVID-19 coronavirus update as of April 19, 2020: "The park is open but amenities inside the parks are closed. Due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak gatherings of large groups are prohibited. This includes crowds at High Park to watch the cherry blossoms. Sorry folks, you may not be able to check out the cherry trees in full bloom this year." The City of Toronto has closed all amenities within parks, including parking lots, however the green spaces are open for now. While it is possible to walk in a park you may not be able to bring a car into the park, or find any parking. You will have to take public transit, bike or walk to the park. Also the premier or the mayor may take the precaution of closing High Park to all visitors during peak bloom.

Update April 22, 2020: The City will close the park before and during the Cherry Blossom Festival. See their media release at the bottom of this post. You can only see the blossoms when they live stream the blossoms.
 Past High Park cherry blossoms

2020 Cherry Blossom watch

As of April 18 the trees in Exhibition Place are sprouting florets that are extending and within weeks will be in peak bloom. The 68 Cherry trees were planted in 2002, donated by the Sakura Project and they can be found at the General Services Building, Bandshell Park, Princess Margaret Fountain, FountainBlu, Press Building and Liberty Grand.
Florets extending April 18

Liberty Grand
Princess Margaret Fountain

City of Toronto News Release, April 22, 2020 High Park cherry blossom festival going virtual during park closure to stop the spread of COVID-19:

"Based on the recommendations of the Medical Officer of Health to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives, the City of Toronto is working to make the High Park cherry blossoms available online during the upcoming park closure.

Every year tens of thousands of people visit High Park to view the blossoming Sakura (cherry blossom) trees. The blossoms typically last between four and 10 days, depending on weather. The peak bloom time period traditionally occurs from late April to early May.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, High Park will be closed during the pre-bloom and peak bloom period of the cherry blossom trees, as maintaining proper physical distancing will not be possible. The park closure dates are weather-dependent and will be announced when the bloom period is determined.

To encourage residents to stay home and stay safe, the City is working on a virtual walk-through of the blossoming trees in High Park. Residents will be able to experience this year's cherry blossom season through multiple livestream events and videos. More details will be announced soon.

High Park is already closed to vehicle traffic. Roads through the park were closed off when the City moved to close park amenities based on public health's advice.

This closure follows similar cherry blossom crowd control responses that have already occurred in Japan, Korea, Europe and Washington, D.C.

Park enforcement City bylaw officers and the Toronto Police Service will ensure residents are complying with the closure. Municipal bylaws give the General Manager of Parks, Forestry & Recreation the authority to close a park in the interest of public safety. Violations related to accessing a closed City park can result in a set fine of $750 if a ticket is paid voluntarily, but the maximum fine can be $5,000.

While we understand many residents use High Park every day, a partial closure of the park isn't possible given the number of cherry blossom trees throughout the park and the size and layout of the park itself. Health and parks staff believe this is the best plan to discourage gathering and protect public health.

The cherry blossoms area at Trinity Bellwoods Park will be enclosed by fencing with enforcement patrols during the bloom period. City enforcement officials and Toronto Police Services may patrol other smaller sites of cherry blossoms in Toronto.

During the closure, Parks staff will undertake extensive work on the park that includes:
• Removal of litter, debris, branches and other material that accumulates over the winter;
• Grass cutting, turf maintenance, tree cutting and horticultural bed maintenance, and
• Animal care, repairs to benches and maintenance activities, such as painting.

The City’s website is updated daily with the latest health advice and information about City services and social supports. Check https://www.toronto.ca/covid-19/ for answers to common questions before contacting the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Hotline or 311.

Quotes:

"I know this closure will be tough for local residents who enjoy High Park year-round and those who look forward to seeing the cherry blossoms every year. This virtual event and the proactive closure is meant to ensure the traditional overcrowding that happens at High Park during the annual cherry blossom bloom does not occur this year to further stop the spread of COVID-19. We are following the advice of our professional public health officials to protect the health and safety of all residents and park visitors. Thank you in advance to the vast majority of residents who will respect this closure and understand this is needed to save lives. I look forward to joining residents in High Park in future years – after we have won the war against COVID-19 – to enjoy the cherry blossoms again."
- Mayor John Tory

“This will be disappointing both for people who love the Cherry Blossoms, and people who regularly use the park. But, our first duty is to keep each other safe."
- Councillor Gord Perks, Parkdale-High Park (Ward 4)"

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Toronto Caribbean Carnival 2020 cancelled

One of the top tourist attractions in Toronto has been cancelled due to Covid-19 precautions. The event brings good feelings, partying and colourful outfits to Exhibition Place and Lake Shore Boulevard West over the past 52 years and wants to do its part to stop the spread of Covid-19. The organizers will also try to celebrate the Carnival if Covid restrictions are lifted by July 1, 2020. If possible, the reworked celebrations will be carried out in a non-traditional format during the August 1 weekend. Here are some photos of previous Carnival medial launches.
From the Carnival; "The Board of Directors of the Festival Management Committee has decided that due to the continued developments concerning the spread of COVID-19, the severe public health threat, and global health crisis, the month-long events held in July-August is cancelled. The events include the Festival Launch, Junior King and Queen Show, Junior Parade, Adult King and Queen Show, Pan Alive, and Grand Parade."







The Toronto Caribbean Carnival Festival was started in 1967 during Canada's centennial celebrations as Caribbean immigrants provided a cultural gift to Canada. "The Caribbean Canadian community that inspires and gives life to the Toronto Caribbean Carnival Festival is comprised of Canadians with heritage taken from Barbados, Bahamas, Guyana, Grenada, Jamaica, Haiti, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the other countries of the Caribbean."

See more of the Mas costumes after the jump.

Monday, April 06, 2020

DON’T BE A SHOPPING COVIDIOT

It's hard to believe but your average grocery store cashier in Ontario makes about $14 per hour and has been declared an essential service worker. For some people that means that you can treat them even worse than they might have before the Covid-19 pandemic. In some stores the managers seem to be counting the profits first and the health and safety of staff and customers second. And some customers think that they cannot get sick and have no patience to wait in line or practice social distancing. It is time to reconsider our cavalier attitudes to health and safety and reduce contact between people to stop the spread of Covid-19. Please be kind and stop being selfish to help flatten the curve.

In honour of our frontline grocery store staff I have found a poem that speaks to the heart of the personnel that are forced to remain at work and deal with hundreds of potentially sick customers during each shift. It is called  “DON’T BE A SHOPPING COVIDIOT”, a therapeutic poem about rationality, rudeness and rules by author I.M. Frustrated. The actual authors shall remain nameless to avoid being fired during this recession and pandemic. 

We have some new rules for you all to read, 
For you to shop here, we insist you agree. 
These rules are here to keep us all safe,
If you don’t like them, you must leave this place.

You’re taking a risk when you come through the door, 
But our risk is morning to night in this store. 
It’s true we are stressed and yes, crazy scared, 
But some of you act like you don't really care. 

You moan and complain ‘cause you have to stay home, 
But I only feel safe in my own little home. 
It is your choice to come through this door, 
But I have no choice but to work in this store. 

You say there’s no choice, I say yes there is, 
But for me there is no money if I leave this biz. 
Sobeys and E.I. will cut me off, 
That is unless I develop a fever or cough. 

So shopping can no longer be social and fun, 
This virus is dangerous and this war can be won! 
If you are feel unwell or kind of sick, 
Please do not enter, go home now, go home quick. 

Please only one person per family we ask, 
Please try to abide by this one simple task. 
The fewer the people that come in to shop, 
Will help to ensure this virus will stop. 

One squirt of sanitizer will reduce risk, 
Just hold out your hand, no please, I insist. 
This virus could kill us and make us all sick, 
When you shop please remember to be in and out quick. 

When grabbing your cart to enter the store,
You will notice some lines that we have placed on the floor. 
These arrows will guide you and it’s only one way, 
Please follow these arrows and please do not stray. 

Gone are the days when the customer is right, 
The staff is struggling to be nice and polite. 
Most customers are great, but some are quite rude, 
To those few I know karma’s coming for you. 

I know that people are worried and stressed, 
Right now the whole world seems like one big fat mess. 
I hope one day soon this virus is gone, 
And happiness and thankfulness will last all day long.

Yes, we are here and are ready to serve, 
So please can you give us the respect we deserve. 
This store will be open and we have to be here, 
So let me make one thing abundantly clear! 
If being respectful and lining up is too much, 
Then you can go hungry, “I don't give a F#$K”! 

Author - I.M. Frustrated

Saturday, April 04, 2020

It's International Pillow Fight Day 2020

Unfortunately in Toronto, and probably around the world, the massive groups of people in places like Nathan Phillips Square or Yonge Dundas Square will be cancelled due to Covid-19 precautions. Replaced instead with family pillow fights, virtual pillow fights on Zoom or maybe AIR pillow fights in groups of 5 or less, separated by vast distances.
The day of battle is always the first Saturday in April and this year it would be April 4, 2020 starting at noon. Toronto had a Pillow Fight Day from 2005 to 2018 so you couldn't join a citywide event for the past couple of years.

Friday, April 03, 2020

Toronto World Naked Bike Ride 2020 postponed

The bare ass WNBR originally scheduled for Saturday, June 13 has been put on hold. Toronto has cancelled all mass events in Toronto until the end of June and the World Naked Bike Ride is continuing to evaluate the rapidly changing precautions resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. Hopefully the situation will allow the ride sometime this year.
The City's 31-Mar-2020 press release: "Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and in response to the recent provincial emergency order to prohibit organized public events and social gatherings of more than five people, the City of Toronto will cancel all City-led major mass participation events, festivals, conferences and cultural programs, and all City permits for major mass participation events organized by external groups at civic centres and squares, parks, public spaces (including road closures), City-operated museums and cultural centres through June 30."

Here is information from the WNBR's website; "JUST SHOW UP AND RIDE. The World Naked Bike Ride is global protest against the over usage of oil and urban pollution, promoting greater cycling safety on our roads, and encouraging body freedom for everyone. This site visually describes the naked protest and environmental awareness event. You are encouraged to join this legal ride. There is no cost, no registration, no cost to the taxpayer, no corporate sponsors and best of all it originated in Vancouver, Canada, and now occurs in over 80 cities world wide. You can wear your clothes if you want."

This year's ride was to start gathering at noon with body painting at Coronation Park. After socializing and photographs, including group photos, the ride would leave the park around 1pm. The ride would head through downtown Toronto streets, stopping at several major tourist spots including Queens Park and Toronto City Hall, generating lots of smiles and stares from people who catch the mobile protest.
Gene Dare, naked ride organizer with the hat in the photo above, says "keep your ass safe."

Thursday, April 02, 2020

2020 Toronto Spring Motorcycle Show Cancelled

Not a surprise but due to the Covid-19 pandemic precautions the 2020 Spring Motorcycle Show that was to take place April 4-5 has been cancelled. Now we will have to be content with the thought that it will return next year. Go 2021, screw Corona Year 2020.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs

Pride

Redball

Beaches

Graffiti

Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square

Transportation